I always thought I would be the sort of mother who would relish the opportunity to make a good costume. I like to think of myself as quite creative, not Pinterest-worthy by any means, but I do enjoy getting the glue, scissors and pretty papers out on occasion. I had visions of smugly putting the finishing touches to a Gruffalo costume whist sipping on Chenin Blanc.
Turns out these visions of motherhood, like so many others, were unrealistic. Fed to me by an edited social media feed and spewed to me by an alturistic media. Which is why Elliott went to nursery this morning, not in a home-made costume, not even in a shop brought one. Nope. He went to nursery in a Gruffalo rugby top. One we’ve had for ages which I purchased because it was cute. Not an outfit purposefully curated for World Book Day, instead my half-assed attempt of joining in.
I’m lucky. Elliott is still too young to really understand what’s going on. So when he turned up to nursery this morning with some of the other children and the nursery staff in full costume there were no cries of disgruntlement. I’m fully aware this is the last year I can deploy this tactic.
On the flip-side another mother who was dropping her child (who is the same age as Elliott) off at nursery at the same time as me this morning had forgotten all about World Book Day (she also has a newborn, so has far more important things to be taking care of than making tutus out of taffeta, or even hitting up Asda to pick up a shop brought costume). Her face dropped as she clocked the other infants dressed up and she actually uttered the words: ‘I forgot. I’m such a bad mum.’ This actually made my heart break for her. Of course she wasn’t a bad mum for forgetting poxy World Book Day.
On the drive to work I put on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Radio 2, they were discussing World Book Day and what a good thing it is. How it has given so many children who didn’t have access to books access to them. Erm, yeah, great.
My social media feed throughout the day is split between those who forgot, those who remembered and are keen to let everyone know this (almost as annoying as the ‘look at my Valentines flowers’ posts on 14th February) and those having a go at us parents who are a little bit disgruntled at having to come up with a costume for our little one when we already have a million and one things to do – after all it’s ‘BOOK day, BOOKS you know, BOOKS are good! Strangely enough the latter group tends to be people who don’t have kids and therefore whose to do lists don’t go: 1. Keep kid alive 2. Get to work on time to earn money to help to kid alive 3. Keep self alive.
I joke, of course, there’s a lot more that goes into my day-to-day than simply staying, and keeping those around me, alive. I’m playing with Elliott, organising play dates and days out for Elliott, trying to cook nutritious meals, reading to Elliott…
It strikes me that World Book Day and homework have a lot in common. They’re set up to ensure those who don’t, do! So those parents who don’t take the time to buy, borrow and read books to their children get a timely reminder to do so with their kids. Elliott loves books. He already has his favourites (more on that soon) and will sometimes get us to read up to five in one day! I spend the time reading to my child which means I don’t have time to make costumes for an enforced reading day – we do it naturally. Same way me and Mr H don’t really do Valentines Day because we’d rather indulge in small gestures throughout the year than on a day that Hallmark tells us we should.
More recently our nursery has started setting home learning assignments – a.k.a homework. Let’s just recap, Elliott is 19-months-old. Again, this is probably a great reminder for parents who choose to sit their kids in front of endless CBeebies, but for the rest of us. The ones who take their kids on Gruffalo hunts in the wood and attend Rattle & Rhyme at the library and soft play dates it’s just another thing on a never ending to do list that we don’t have time for. And worse than that, it’s something to do which detracts from the stuff we actually want to do. Working parents have such little, precious time with their little ones – please don’t tell us how we should spend that time.
Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to plan Elliott’s costume for World Book Day 2018, or maybe I’ll just sip the Chenin Blanc…
Are you a fan of World Book Day?